American Studies

Grounds Initiatives

We’ve Done It

1 Wesleyan follows many tenets of integrated pest management in its grounds practices. Wesleyan has significantly cut back on chemical weed control on all campus grounds. The landscaping contractors use both organic and synthetic weed treatments for crabgrass, invasive plants, and grub control. 100% organic fertilizers are used for 4 of 6 yearly applications; the other 2 applications are 50% organic. On Jackson Field, one of the main athletic fields, the grounds crew has experimented with an organic fertilizer that worked well but is currently too expensive for regular use. The grounds crew has found it challenging to use organic fertilizers, as they take multiple years to work, while synthetic chemicals work instantly. In the past, Wesleyan used to spray infected elms to protect against disease, but now injects infected trees to protect against fungus and insects. Wesleyan does not treat hemlocks or ash, as both species are in decline in the area.

Wesleyan prioritizes the use of native plants in in-ground plantings and avoids planting any invasive species.  There are extensive native plantings at Allbritton, on the former McConaughy Hall site, and at Long Lane.


Students in WILD Wes developed the West College (WestCo) hill using permaculture principles to design a beautiful and sustainable landscape.  Planting on WestCo finished in spring 2013, and WILD Wes is now maintaining this site.  WILD Wes started its second permaculture site in the Butterfields Courtyard in Summer 2013, constructing stairs and terraces without any machinery.  In Fall 2013, WILD Wes sheet mulched the terraces, maintained the Hugelkultur beds.  Plantings, in conjunction with Green Hall, will begin in Spring 2014. 

Check out the WILD Wes Green Building Subcommittee presentations from November and December 2012 to see some of the other proposed sites.


Wesleyan utilizes land-use practices that protect wildlife habitat, including the Long Lane native grass and wildflower plantings and on 89 acres of wooded areas and hayfields.

5 For snow and ice removal, Wesleyan has moved away from using sand and instead uses blue Magic Salt.  Conventional bagged salt is used on stairways and concrete.  The Green Building subcommittee is investigating ways to prevent overuse of Magic Salt and rock salt, which can pollute waterways, kill plants, and damage buildings.   

Wesleyan composts or mulches most of its landscape waste, either on-campus (80%) or at the Middletown Transfer Station (20%).  We do not use our own woodchips around trees because of insect and disease concerns.  All elms are sent to the landfill to prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.

  • Wesleyan operates a plant dump on the Long Lane property for discarded annuals, which are either collected for replanting or composted. 
  • Grounds crews' mowers leave grass clippings on the fields and lawn areas for moisture retention. 
  • Any trees removed on campus are chipped and used as compost amendments.  

Wesleyan's new artificial turf field is made with 20,000 pounds of rubber tires and eliminates the need for mowing and pest control.

We’re Working On It

1 The Green Building Policy, which is under revision, will include policies on plantings, paving, and other outdoor maintenance.
2 The Green Building subcommittee is investigating the feasibility of participating in Tree Campus USA and providing clear guidance for planting, maintaining, and removing trees.

Send suggestions for grounds initiatives to